The Q&A Archives: The FlowerBed Baffle

Question: I recently planted verbena, rosemary and knockout roses in a flowerbed created by the previous owners of my house. While digging to plant, I discovered plastic covering about 6-9 inched below the topsoil. I am baffled by its existence. Will it hinder the growth of the flowers I planted? I did discover a different soil type below the plastic-thick red clay. I know some plants/flowers can grow in this soil. The soil that is above the plastic is a sandy/dirt mix. Will this plastic shield hinder the growth of the flowers I have planted? What about water drainage? Am I limited to what will grow well there? What are the chances of survival for what I have planted!?

Answer: It may be that the previous owners added topsoil over a plastic weed barrier. As long as you have pierced the plastic when digging the planting holes for your plants, the plastic shouldn't hinder root growth. If you simply planted on top of the plastic, the roots will eventually die off. Since you've only recently planted, if you know you did not dig through the plastic while installing your plants, take the time now to dig them up, puncture the plastic, then replant. The roots should be fine as long as you leave a large area around each plant to apply water. Best wishes with your new flower bed!

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